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WOODFORD GREEN: Biker is killed by cricket star's dad
3:39pm Thursday 8th January 2009 in News
The father of England cricket star James Foster has been told he could go to prison for killing a motorcyclist.
Kenneth Foster, 63, of Glengall Road, Woodford Green, ploughed head-on into biker Mark Gibbs after his luxury X-Type Jaguar drifted onto the wrong side of Epping New Road.
Mr Gibbs, 34, who was “catapulted through the air” from his Suzuki motorbike during the crash in Buckhurst Hill, was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital but died shortly afterwards.
A jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court found Mr Foster guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. They rejected claims that he blacked out at the wheel and said he crashed after taking his eyes off the road for a few seconds to tend to his terminally-ill wife Diana, who has since died of motor neuron disease.
Police found an open pot of ointment in the driver’s footwell and motorists said they saw Foster leaning over to his wife in the passenger seat moments before the impact.
Detective Inspector Mark Robson, who led the investigation, said he was convinced of Mr Foster’s guilt from the start.
He added: “At the point of interviewing him I suspected that his account was not a true account because it didn’t fit with the information I had available to me at the time - the witness evidence and the physical evidence.
“Obviously one would maintain that if it was true, why did he not say at the time?”
Mr Foster told the court he informed his daughter and son-in-law that he blacked out, but admitted failing to tell police and paramedics at the scene as well as his insurance company the following day.
James Foster, who has kept wicket for England in seven tests and 11 one day internationals, admitted ferrying his father away from the scene of the fatal crash, telling jurors: “I didn’t want policemen grilling my father.”
Rival defence and prosecution medical experts both backed and disputed the retired chartered accountant’s black out claim. But Britain’s most senior criminal judge, the Recorder of London Peter Beaunmont QC, said he trusted Foster’s integrity “implicitly” after he served with him on the board of governors at the Felsted School in Essex.
Det Insp Robson said: “When faced with a certain set of circumstances, the most honest people are found to lie and the most dishonest people are found to tell the truth.
“Experience would show that just because somebody is of previous good character, they are not always truthful.”
He added: “There was a man who has done what he’s done and not been able to face up to it.
“He’s tried a defence to get him off the hook when it may well have been better for him to be up front from the beginning.
“It may not have gone as far but we will never know.
“I didn’t believe his account and it’s not fair on his family for it to have gone this far, but it did and he’s been found guilty.”
Judge John Hand QC bailed Foster until February 19 but warned: “all sentencing options are open.”